By on November 27, 2008

Like any good scandal, Jet-gate threatens to unfold like a wedding napkin. As TTAC pointed-out when Alan Mulally was hired, Ford’s $25m p.a. CEO’s perks include free, non-business-related jet travel for his wife and family. And now Bloomberg reports that GM has asked aviation regulators to block the public’s ability to track The General’s squadron of Gulfstream jets. “We availed ourselves of the option as others do to have the aircraft removed” from a Federal Aviation Administration tracking service, Greg Martin, told Bloomberg. The spinmeister “declined to discuss why GM made the request.” Which raises one important question: what are they hiding? To be charitable, we could take GM’s previous statements about CEO Rick Wagoner’s personal security needs seriously. Other than that, we can invoke Bertel Schmitt’s (TTAC’s man in China) reports that The People’s Republic are ready to talk turkey with GM about a Chinese buyout/rescue plan. Perhaps Wagoner plans on hopping the Pacific to do the dirty on his detractors. One also wonders if this tracking thing works backwards; have GM execs been partying like it’s 1999? Has Rick been stashing wads of cash off-shore? Anyone know how UAW Gettelfinger got to Washington?

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17 Comments on “GM Asks FAA to Remove Tracking on Company Jets...”


  • avatar
    dgduris

    I think that, until such time as the B3 become “American Leyland” the “public” needn’t know where the planes go.

    Actually, once we (the taxpayers) own them – we don’t want to know where they go. We just want them to produce a product up to world (Asian) standards at a decent profit – since it is OUR money they will be using.

  • avatar
    factotum

    once we (the taxpayers) own them – we don’t want to know where they go.

    Speak for yourself. If I am financing this joke of a company, I will want timely, full disclosures of how my (our) money is being spent.

  • avatar

    I have no problem with corporate aircaft being used by our execs when necessary. trouble is RIR was unable to deflect an obvious attempt at making him look foolish and unstable. on top of being unable to answer simple and direct questions, he hemmed and hawed and appeared uncertain. a sign of a good leader would have been a response that in the essence of time and cost, a group from GM flew together. how last minute commercial flights would have cost nearly the same and tied up valuable time for the leadership team. whether or not the congressmen would have found the answer acceptable, at the very least, he could have presented the image of a man in charge rather than a confused and shaky individual only interested in self preservation.

  • avatar

    Come on, the man is making sales calls. Saturn, Saab, Pontiac, and Hummer. Everything must go! Best before they get back to DC. Can’t wait hours inching through security with your shoes in your hand.

    I don’t understand what this jet-gate is all about. We are talking lowly Gulfstreams! Both Daimler and VW have real planes, Airbusses.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    See, this is how communism works:

    That’s our plane. We say you can’t use it.

    @factotum, if you want to be in management in the auto industry, move to Gross Point – or Bloomfield Hills or Birmingham (MI), but don’t do the armchair quarterback management thing. That’s for commies ( you know, collectivists whose stake is risk and reward free).

    BTW, do you know how Barney Frank is spending your money? He says that he thinks he should have a lot more of it. Perhaps you should give him a call.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    the “public” needn’t know where the planes go.

    In case you didn’t notice, they are a public company.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    dgduris wrote:
    the “public” needn’t know where the planes go.

    In case you didn’t notice, they are a public company.

  • avatar
    rtz

    That would be about the ultimate thing to do to the Union. Sell the whole shebang off to commie China. Even better. The Russian Mafia(who for some reason GM refused to sell Hummer too). If they don’t buy; sell it all off to India.

  • avatar
    volvo

    One also wonders if this tracking thing works backwards; have GM execs been partying like it’s 1999? Has Rick been stashing wads of cash off-shore?

    http://www.flightaware.com

    If you are registered user (free) and have the aircraft tail number you can access data on all IFR flights for the past 24 months. Probably longer if you are a paying user.

    Actually it is a pretty good site to realtime track any current flight. More accurate than the airlines web site flight tracking. The flight appears as soon as it enters Local IFR center control (usually 1500 ft AGL for commercial flight). You can track all IFR flights by either tail number, flight number or origin/destination information.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    hwyhobo,

    “Public” describes a company as selling shares to investors (presumably from the body of John Q Public).

    “Private” describes a company wherein the shares are not available for sale to the above mentioned John Q.

    “Federal” describes a company owned by the Government – you know, “we the people.”

    I guess that if you are a shareholder in GM you are legally entitled to know where go the planes. But being a U.S. taxpayer does not, I suspect, grant that right.

  • avatar
    MichaelJ

    I think evryone who works for companies whose stock is sold on the open market should wear little gps chips so that anyone who owns stock in the company can log on and see where they’re at 24/7. How much time they spend in the bathroom, etc. After all, the public who owns part of the company has a right to know what all the workers are doing all the time.

  • avatar

    Any effort at greater transparency & oversight is worthwhile.

    This is a ham-fisted attempt at obfuscation by GM. Which is of course, the first instinct of a career bullshitter.

    My 7-year-old niece could manage GM better than the entire top brass+BOD from her Hello Kitty chaise longue in SW Connecticut.
    And if you’re going to defend US Auto, you’re a crash-test-dummy for invoking ANY “Commie” argument, as the UAW is the largest Communist Government outside Asia and the Caribbean.

    Otherwise:
    “what are they hiding?” -Exactly!

  • avatar

    Robert,

    Gettlefinger flew commercial, according to news reports at the time, telling reporters after the hearings that he had to hurry to catch a plane.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, Citigroup, you know the company that we just gave $45 billion to plus underwrote up to $306 billion of their losses has yet to cut back on perks for former executives, let alone Vikram Pandit and other current execs:

    As for his retirement nest egg, it is all but solid gold. After earning nearly $1 billion in salary, bonuses and options that he cashed in over the last decade, [Sanford] Weill will receive a pension worth more than $1 million a year.

    Under a 10-year consulting contract with Citigroup, he will earn a daily rate of $3,846 for dispensing advice for up to 45 days a year.

    Citigroup will also cover the costs of a car and driver; health and life insurance for him and his wife, Joan; and rent for an office in the General Motors Building. Weill will continue to fly at no charge on Citigroup jets for the next 10 years.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Any plane owner can make this request, and it’s not a bad idea. Information on where the planes go can be used by people to the disadvantage of the company. Why they didn’t make the request a few months ago when the program started is the real story. We all got a letter informing us how to keep our planes off of the net.

    Of course, they could have pulled a volkswagen, sent the planes somewhere to fool the hedge funds, and then bet against them.

    Might as well go with Netjets or similar company at this point.

  • avatar

    volvo, how do I find out the tail numbers for Citigroup’s planes?

  • avatar

    @factotum, if you want to be in management in the auto industry, move to Gross Point – or Bloomfield Hills or Birmingham (MI), but don’t do the armchair quarterback management thing. That’s for commies ( you know, collectivists whose stake is risk and reward free).

    That’s Grosse Pointe

    I don’t know how many auto execs live in Birmingham, some I’m sure, but Bloomfield Hills has always been popular, particularly with GM guys because of proximity to GM facilities in Pontiac. I’m sure some live in Franklin as well. Ford folks, I hear, prefer the Pointes (Edsel & Eleanor’s estate is on the north end of Lakeshore Dr. maybe technically in Saint Claire Shores), Grosse Isle or some of the wealthier parts of the western Wayne County suburbs. Bill Ford Jr. lives in the Ann Arbor area where his kids go to public school. From the real estate listing of his old house (he moved to a different home in the same neighborhood) which says it has water frontage and a Huron River view, my guess is Barton Hills.


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